Editor’s note – June 27, 2013 –
The transcript below was updated to correct the spelling of the company Graphine.
ANNOUNCER: Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Chief Executive Officer, Microsoft Corporation, Steve Ballmer. (Cheers, applause, music.)
STEVE BALLMER: Well, thanks. It is exciting to have a chance to kick off this Build Conference here in Moscone Center in San Francisco. It’s hard to get a room in San Francisco, let alone a room for 6,000 of your favorite friends. So we really appreciate and welcome all the folks who are joining us here today in person.
We estimate we have about 60,000 people also watching live on webcasts. Frankly, we actually have quite a bit to show you today, and we’re pretty excited about it. The world is so dynamic, and the amount of incredibly interesting and exciting and valuable work that we’ll get a chance to show you today from Microsoft and from our innovation partners, hardware vendors, software developers, it’s really, really amazing.
Probably won’t show you a lot of Office 365 and Xbox and Skype because we’ve been kind of sharing that separately, but we’ve got a whole lot of Windows, a whole lot of Windows Phone to talk to you about, a whole lot of Windows Azure, and I think you’ll really get a sense on some of the amazing and cool stuff that’s coming really, really fits together very, very nicely.
I will say probably the No. 1 thing that I’m excited about, and the No. 1 thing that I’m happy to be able to do, is to welcome you back to a Build Conference so quickly after the last Build Conference. (Applause.)
And that’s not even so much about the conference, but it’s about the rapid pace of innovation. If there’s not one other message that I reach you with in my opening remarks, it’s about the transformation that we are going through as a company to move to an absolutely rapid release cycle — rapid release, rapid release.
I’ve talked externally about the transformation that we’re going through as a company who’s a software company to a company that is building software-powered devices and software-powered services. And the only way in which that transformation can possibly be driven is on a principle of rapid release.
It’s not a one-time thing. We’re certainly going to show you Windows 8.1 today. But you can think of that in a sense as the new norm for everything we do. For Windows releases, in addition to what we’re doing with devices through our partners, what we’re doing with Azure and Office 365, rapid release cadence is absolutely fundamental to what we’re doing, and, frankly, to the way we need to mobilize our ecosystem of hardware and software development partners.
So the first thing I want everybody to do, whether you actually do it physically in this room, we’ll test the Wi-Fi network, but I want everybody to take the opportunity to go download the Windows 8.1 Preview edition and the version of the Visual Studio tools that allow you to do first-class development for Windows 8.1.
Remember, we put Windows 8 systems in market just the end of last year. It was literally November when we started to see Windows 8 systems really coming to the fore. And yet, what you see and what we will show you as we demonstrate Windows 8.1 to you is you see a heck of a lot of movement, a heck of a lot of innovation, a heck of a lot of responsiveness all coming to market in a very, very rapid timeframe, and with a toolset that ought to enable all of our developers to flourish, to do great work, and help continue to fill out the portfolio of applications that are available for Windows 8.
Now, we’ve been moving quickly not just with Windows but also with our Windows Phone software and what we’re doing with our OEM partners. So in addition to the Windows 8.1 Preview, the first thing I want to have a chance to show you is the incredible range of new devices that our partners are bringing to market with Windows Phone. These are incredibly, incredibly beautiful devices.
You see here a range of new devices. These are a couple of new Nokias, the 928 and the 925, polycarbonate and polycarbonate and aluminum body. They have absolutely the finest camera technology in the market available today. They have beautiful screens. They’re thin, they’re light, they’re available on a wide range of networks, and all have come available here within the last month or two.
The software, in my mind’s eye, is beautiful. It’s beautiful, and it looks like the same software that we have on Windows tablets, Windows PCs, Windows notebooks, and even on our Xbox systems.
An additional product that I think is worthy of mention is the Nokia 521. It, too, is a beautiful product. This product will be sold outside of the United States, primarily in countries where the phone operators do not subsidize; that is, they do not reduce the price of the phone, but this phone will be sold for just over $150, which is really quite amazing for a product that’s this beautiful, this gorgeous, and at this time, an inexpensive price.
We’re also pleased to announce today in conjunction with Sprint and with Samsung and HTC that for the first time, Sprint will be making new Windows 8 Phones available on its network. The HTC 8XT and the Samsung ATIV S Neo are coming available on the Sprint network, filling out the range of options that our customers here in the United States have been looking for, a family of beautiful Windows Phones available on every network in this country and around the world. And we’re really proud of the work that our hardware partners are doing on this collection of beautiful new phones.
It’s not just about phones, though. It’s also about transformation and innovation in the fundamental hardware that we think of as the Windows device.
I’m almost not sure whether to talk about Windows devices today, Windows PCs, Windows tablets, Windows notebooks — the PC, the Windows device of today doesn’t look a lot like the PC of five years ago or 10 years ago or 15 years ago. And it’s really been in this short seven months since we launched Windows 8 and we turned on the switch with our hardware partners that we’ve seen an explosion in the range of innovative new devices that are being designed with Windows inside.
For the first time today, we’ll really spend some time showing you small tablets running Windows. You will all receive, those of you here in person, you will all get an Acer Iconia 8.1-inch Windows 8 machine. (Cheers, applause.)
Antoine Leblond will show you one here in a minute, but it’s a very small tablet. It’s a full Windows 8 device. It has full entertainment, full PC capability. It comes with Windows Office preloaded, and literally is flying off the shelves in terms of volume and appreciation. A perfect device for students, a small, very light device, and yet you can add a keyboard, you have Microsoft Office and the full range of PC applications, enabling kids to do homework and have a little entertainment at the same time.
This small tablet form factor is very important. I wouldn’t call them PCs, but there will be Windows small tablets. You’ll see it, you’ll touch it, you’ll feel it, and we’re going to see a proliferation of Windows small tablet devices here over the course of the next several months.
This is innovation that had to be unlocked. We had to do work in Windows, and our partners have had to do work in the semiconductors and in their system design to really bring the small tablet form factor to life.
Second, when we brought out Windows 8, we talked about touch, touch, touch, touch, touch, touch, and more touch. When you went into the stores last Christmas to look for a Windows 8 machine, most of them didn’t have touch.
And yet, what we’ve seen in that timeframe is a real focusing by our industry ecosystem on bringing Windows 8 touch systems to market: Windows 8 notebooks, Windows 8 touch all-in-ones, touch notebooks.
Touch is incredibly valuable in what I might refer to as a traditional PC form factors. The advantages of being able to touch your all-in-one, or even the notebook, the notebook that maybe you use all day, every day with the mouse and the keyboard powered down, writing code, the ability in a more casual moment to reach out and touch is so obvious, and yet it’s really only in the Windows family that we have a range of touch notebooks.
And you will see in what we show you here onstage, and in what you’ll see now in stores, you will see literally an outpouring of new devices that are notebook computers in every respect, and yet have touch fully integrated and accessible.
One of the things we have certainly seen in our user research is customers who have Windows 8 on touch systems are much, much happier than other Windows 8 customers, and in fact, are even much happier than our Windows 7 customers. And so really getting the ecosystem to come forth with a full product line of Windows 8 touch PCs is incredibly important.
The other category of innovation that we’re going to show you some here today, I guess I’ll call a workhorse two-in-one tablet. I don’t know whether to call it a tablet, I don’t know whether to call it a PC, because really this family of devices really does a first-class job at both of those things.
I continuously bring in and try new machines. The newest machine I’ve tried, which Antoine will demonstrate later, is this Helix device from Lenovo. It’s a Core i7 machine. It has all of the security features, PCM, encryption that anybody would ever want.
I find that I get at least a full day of work in terms of battery life. It is light. It’s about two pounds. It has built-in pen. You say, “How can this possibly be a full-day battery life with a Core i7?” Well, it’s touch, it’s pen, but it also has a keyboard with built-in battery that turns it literally into the most — oops, I should put it down more carefully in demo areas — it literally makes it the most powerful PC and the most powerful, capable, lightweight tablet that you could carry.
Should we call that a PC? Should we call that a tablet? What I call it is all Windows, all the time. And I think it really reaches out and touches a need that a lot of people feel.
How many of us have gone to a meeting with somebody who brought a tablet and then when it comes time to actually take notes, writes them down on pencil and paper, or can’t get at the spreadsheet that they really need to do their work, or try to use it terminal emulator mode, or can’t write the document really, or they take half an hour to set up and turn their tablet back into something that approximates a PC?
This new category of two-in-ones is what I think all of our developers at Microsoft will want.
A lot of times, people just want the desktop, they want a powerful PC or notebook, and yet from time to time, you want to be able to kick back with a lightweight, ink-enabled tablet, and we can go both ways with this powerful two-in-one tablet combination.
Third area that I want to highlight where we have a lot of innovation that you will see showcased here during the Build Conference is in the area of applications. It really again has only been seven months since we’ve launched Windows 8, and the number of applications that we see coming into the store is phenomenal.
But it also to me is gratifying to see that developers are doing really great work for Windows 8. Flipboard will be announcing their new applications. They’re known, of course, for very intuitive, visual design. And Mike McCue, who’s the CEO of Flipboard, says, “We aspire to not just create the best Windows application possible, but the best version of Flipboard possible.” This new range and family of Windows devices enables that kind of application innovation.
Facebook will bring an application to the Windows 8 environment. They’re very focused on mobile. That’s good. (Applause.) That’s very good.
Mike Chambers, director of engineering at Facebook, says, “Facebook has always believed in connecting everyone, everywhere, on every device. Given our strong and longstanding partnership with Microsoft, this is an exciting way to advance that vision.”
The NFL, we recently struck a deal with the NFL to bring its content and applications to a broad set of Microsoft devices, including all Windows tablets, PCs, et cetera. And today, the NFL will be announcing that their Fantasy Football experience will be available across the range of Windows 8 devices.
These join applications just announced even in the last week from Vivo, from Viclone, from Time Out, from Tesco Groceries, Disney’s new game Where’s My Mickey, and many, many more.
Within this month, I think we’ll pass the 100,000-application mark in the Windows Store. But of course, as important as those 100,000 applications are, they join a list of literally millions of applications that people use on Windows today. In our instrumented versions of Windows, with your permission, when you feed us back data, we get to see kind of the numbers of applications that we have instrumented versions. And we literally have data that shows us approximately 2 to 3 million applications in production on Windows on a daily basis.
They haven’t all been moved to the modern user interface, they’re not all in the store, but they are essential to the way all of us work and get stuff done every day. And they will move, and they will migrate, and they will continue to be the basis and the evolution for the productivity that drives all of us in our daily lives around the world.
The importance of those desktop applications was never more reinforced to us than in the course of the last six months. Since we announced and shipped Windows 8, suffice it to say we pushed boldly in Windows 8, and yet what we found was that we got a lot of feedback from users of those millions of desktop applications that said, if I was to put it in coffee terms, “Why don’t you go refine the blend here?” Let’s remix the desktop and your modern application experiences. Let’s balance them better. Let’s complete them better. Let’s make it easier to start applications the way we’re used to with the millions of desktop applications that we use to be productive every day.
So what we will show you today is a refined blend of our desktop experience and our modern user interface and application experience.
You will see that we bring back the Start button to the desktop. (Cheers, applause.)
You will see that if you want to boot to the desktop, you can boot to the desktop. (Cheers, applause.)
You will see that we have, nonetheless, enriched the Start screen and Start menu, but we have brought back the flexibility for you to see all of those many, many applications that you use every day at a simple and quick glance.
You will see that we have built into the user experience more multitasking options, so you can have more things up on the screen like you’re used to in desktop mode. You can use more screen real estate with multiple monitors. We said, “Let’s reblend the desktop and the modern experience, and let’s recognize the fact that it’s not just these hundreds of thousands of new applications that are in our store and support the modern touch user interface, but let’s also make sure that we have a great path forward for the people using the millions of desktop applications in the world.” So we have refined the blend of those two things, and we’ll show you that here later today.
The last big thing I want to highlight in terms of what we’re doing in Windows 8.1, we’re doing with Bing. We have put an incredible amount of energy, innovation, brain power into our Bing search engine. And we’ve built absolutely an unbelievable product. We have consistently improved the experience to the point where today in the United States we win blind taste tests if you compare results between Bing and Google.
We have gained market share consistently since the launch of Bing here in the United States.
But the time has come now to also use Bing in new ways, to use Bing to harness it, to help improve the fundamental usability of Windows devices and Windows applications.
So, with Windows 8.1, I would say Bing is inside. Our shell experience is powered by Bing. You’ll see that we’re opening up Bing as an application development platform for all of you as Windows developers so that you can use all of this investment we’ve put into crawling the Web and understanding entities. You can use that, see that, and build that richness into your applications running on top of Windows.
So I would say we have moved from Bing super and outside you’ll see Bing inside the whole family of Windows devices and the cool, new applications that all of you are building.
To show you some of these innovations, to demonstrate them to you, we’re going to have Julie Larson-Green, who runs our Windows group, Antoine Leblond, who runs program management and kind of design conceptualization for Windows, and Gurdeep Singh Pall, from our Bing team, come on out and show you some of the exciting innovation that I got a chance to talk to you about. I’ll rejoin you in a little bit, but welcome, Julie, and enjoy the show. (Applause, music.)
JULIE LARSON-GREEN: OKOK, thanks, Steve. So I’ve got a demo to show you, but the most exciting feature that you’ll see is the fact that we’re here in eight months with an update that shows how much more responsive our engineering has become.
Now, I remember when I was here at the developer conference for Windows 7, and we were really proud of that release. It unlocked a whole new generation of PCs called ultrabooks, and those were the best ones that were ever made at the time. They were really a breakthrough product.
And then I came back exactly three years later to unveil Windows 8. And it was about enabling another generation of PCs, tablets that can do everything.
Windows 8 was the most ambitious vision for Windows ever, one that introduced a new platform, experience, app model, and more.
So today, I’m going to show you Windows 8.1. It’s an update that refines the vision of Windows 8 and is responsive to the latest industry trends, from supporting the newest silicon to the widest range of devices at the same time we’ve been delivering continuous improvements.
We have had over 800 updates to Windows since we launched in November that address everything from performance, efficiency, to the look and feel and new features in the product. We designed 8.1 to feel natural and everything from the new mini small tablets up to large, powerful work stations. And so I’m going to give you a glance at all of those things.
Right here, I have the one that Steve was talking about, the Acer 8-inch. I’m going to go over and show you a little bit about how we’ve designed the system to work really great with these devices.
I’m going to use the one connected to the projector. Here I am with the new Start screen for the small device. Works great in portrait mode. These devices are really easy to carry around in your bag or your purse and great for reading. So we have Nook Reader right here.
But we didn’t really just stop there, we also rethought the way that you can be productive on these small devices and came up with some innovative ways to use an onscreen keyboard.
So I’m going to go to Twitter. No Internet connection; that will make it hard to tweet. And right away, you see an application that was designed or an app designed for this 8-inch portrait form factor.
So here’s the onscreen keyboard, and I’m at the Build keynote, started at 9:00. I’m going to tweet that. So as I start typing, immediately you start to see the suggestions at the top. It has B, Build, Bing as suggestions for me.
Normally, I would take my hands away from the keyboard, go to the top, press one of those, and continue typing.
With Windows 8.1, we’ve added gestures to the onscreen keyboard. So, as I slide my finger on the space bar, it selects across. I see the one that I want, I tap, and it gives me the word. (Applause.)
I can do that again. So I’m just going to slide my finger on the space bar right across and tap and the word. I’m going to type “at.”
Another way that we do gestures is on the keypad itself. So one of the things that’s most annoying about an onscreen keyboard is going to the keypad for numbers and then coming back and typing. So instead, with Windows 8.1, I can use a gesture to slide up and put in a number. So here I go with 9. Slide up — whoops, I slid the whole thing — slide up for the colon, zero, zero — and show you what I’m doing here. I’m going to press and hold on the question mark. Now I can slide in any direction to get my exclamation point or pound sign or anything else I want, and it’s just that easy. (Applause.)
So when we launched Windows 8, it was on these larger tablets, really tablets that can do everything. And it was all about making you productive and helping you get things done that you wanted to go do. Some of the things that we’ve improved in Windows 8.1 are around email, around searching, what Steve talked about before, and also with entertainment. So I’m going to take you through some of those things.
Let’s go to my email. Now, we’ve got a big update that hopefully many of you got in February for the mail client. We added all kinds of new capabilities, and we’ve been improving it ever since. What I’m going to show you here are some of the capabilities that help you really manage your inbox content and the innovations we’re putting in when we release. This isn’t in your preview build, but it will be there in the fall when we come out.
So right away, I have what’s called the power pane here on the left-hand side. It makes it very easy for me to filter and find things that are in my inbox. So I press on social, and it gives me all my social updates all at a glance. I can see everything that’s been coming from my Facebook feed or anything else that I have connected here.
I have my favorite people that I can get to really quickly or get to an individual.
I also have newsletters. If you’re like me, you’re getting many of these newsletters every day; sometimes many times a day and it fills up your inbox. So we’ve added the capability to sweep these away.
So if I go and select one of these, I’ve got LivingSocial, use the sweep command, and I can delete them all at once. I can delete all but the latest. And then as they come in, it automatically will update and set it aside for me so I don’t have to manage all that content all at once. So I’m going to go ahead and delete all of these and sweep them away. (Applause.)
So Steve was talking about Bing and how Bing powers Windows. And we introduced the Search charm in Windows 8. And the Search charm in Windows 8, it can search through a variety of contexts. What we’ve done in 8.1 is make it the one box that just does it all. It’s the place you’re going to go for everything. It’s like the modern command line to your system. It can bring back results from the Web, from your local drive, from the control panel, from apps on your system. It’s the one place you go to get to everything you want to do. And with 20 billion searches that were done in the U.S. alone in one month, we know it’s the way that people like to use their PC.
So here I am with all those results. I have my SkyDrive, Store, everything that starts with “S.” I’m going to continue typing, and we’re going to go get some results for San Francisco.
So this smart search brings back the results from everywhere. So I have the weather, I have maps, I have attractions that are popular and known to be in San Francisco. I have Web results with little pictures of the pages that I would get. And so it’s a one-stop shop to find out everything I might want to do in the relevance of things in San Francisco.
So I’m going to go look at the weather. And part of the search experience is it just takes me right to the weather. I can look at the city, look at the temperature and go right back to search. I can go right to a map of the city. I have little stars of things that I’ve selected here. I’m going to select on a restaurant, Aziza. And built right into the whole search experience is the ability to go look at that restaurant, find the menu, go to OpenTable, make a reservation, making it very easy and seamless. Search is not just a list of links; it’s things you can do.
So I’m going to go over here and search for something else. There’s a band playing this week that I’ve heard of called Fitz & The Tantrums. I’ll show you another one of these. This is like an app that’s been built on the fly for Fitz & The Tantrums. It tells me the genre. I can play songs. I can read about it, look at videos, find things on the Internet, just very quickly and simply get that built right up for me.
And I can play things right from here. So I’m going to play this song, 6:00 a.m. (Music plays.) So I didn’t own that song. That used the Xbox Music app to go find the song and play it for me and stream it for me automatically without me having to do anything, because free music streaming comes with Xbox Music. It’s built into Windows 8.
So the Xbox Music app has been completely redesigned to focus on playing content. We were focusing on discovery before, but really what you want to do with a music app is you want to go and play. And so it starts from your collection. I also have a new radio feature where I can create playlists, create new stations and enter artists.
And I have this one new feature that is so cool, I’ve never seen this before in any kind of music app. I’ll show you how it works.
I’m going to go back here to the browser, and this is just a regular music Web page. It’s just a site on the Internet. You guys can go there now and take a look at it. It has the lineup for the Second Wave Festival, and it just lists all the bands that are going to be playing.
I can share the site using the charms to the music app. It’s going to automatically comb through that website and create a playlist using the streaming music from all those bands. And then when I go back there, I automatically have a playlist all created for me. (Applause.)
Pretty cool. OK, so those touch machines, tablets, you’re using them, you’re touching them all the time. Pretty soon, every screen you have is going to be touch.
Here is this all-in-one. It’s a great 27-inch Dell PC touch machine. And we’re finding these more and more in public areas of the home. They’re in the living room; they’re in your kitchen. They’re sitting here, and we’ve made them much more beautiful in Windows 8.1 with a live slide show of all your pictures.
So these pictures come from SkyDrive where your pictures are stored, or from your local hard drive, and they just go with you. They’re organized by date. So if your birthday was this week, next year at the same time, pictures from that birthday event are going to show up there.
But it’s not just sitting around looking beautiful. It’s also ready to go at a moment’s notice. On the lock screen — (tones). Ah, Jensen, right on cue. OK, did you see what I did there? I opened it right from the lock screen without being logged in.
JENSEN: Hi, Julie. That’s pretty cool.
JULIE LARSON-GREEN: Yeah, you can do that with camera as well. You can just slide down from the top with your tablet and take a picture without logging in.
JENSEN: Yeah, you didn’t have to enter a password or a PIN or anything. You just got instant video chat right from the lock screen on any device.
JULIE LARSON-GREEN: Absolutely. I’ll talk to you soon, thanks.
JULIE LARSON-GREEN: Bye. (Cheers, applause.)
OK, Start screen. So Steve talked some about the Start screen and all the capabilities of the Start screen. It is designed for all sizes of screen. It looks great on this big screen. I have all the things that I do every day sitting right here. I have a beautiful background, and we’ve added lots of personalization. I’ll show you a couple of things here.
I’m going to go to this dragon one, this bright, colorful one and show you — see how I’m sliding the tile and the dragon is moving behind there? I’ll do one more. So that’s a robot. Now, watch on the bottom here as I move and the gears are turning. And you can just customize it to look any way you want.
Now, when you install apps from the store, they’re going to go into all programs. And we made all programs much easier to get to. It works just like it does on Windows Phone. So as I scroll up to the top, all programs are just right there. I just swipe up and swipe back down. (Applause.) I’ll do that again.
And when you’re in this view, you can filter and sort by a number of different things. We can sort by date installed, by most used, by category, making it easy for me to find all the things that are on my system.
And when you’re in this view, you can filter and sort by a number of different things. We can start by date installed, by most used, by category, making it easy for me to find all the things that are on my system.
So I’m going to go by date installed. And you see the little “new” that I just recently installed Urbanspoon, and it’s ready there for me to go.
So I’m going to talk a little bit about SkyDrive and the services that are backed up behind Windows 8.
So I talked before about having your photos in the cloud, in SkyDrive, making it easy for you to get your beautiful lock screen. And SkyDrive is where you’re going to store all of your documents, your photos, your music, and everything that you want to keep, all the content that you want to keep on your system.
We also have a number of other services that come with Windows that roam your content across, that roam your apps across your settings, your favorites. We also have Outlook, which powers your email, and the Xbox Music and Video service. And they’re all available from all of your Windows devices, even your Windows Phone.
So I’m going to go here into pictures and show you a couple new things. So we have picture editing built right into Windows 8.1. So there’s a bunch of presets that make it very easy for you to go and customize the look of your photo. We have some detailed ways to go do that. I’m going to play with the saturation and desaturate it here.
These are some of the new controls that you’ll find when you start creating your applications, a bunch of these kinds of cool, new things for your apps. Makes it very easy to go and create a beautiful interface on top of the pictures.
There’s going to be all kinds of new apps coming in Windows 8.1. Every app in the box is either new or updated and refined from 8.0.
I’m going to show you one here. Oops, wanted to keep going a little further. There we go. It’s called Food and Drink, and it’s a new app that has everything you can find about cooking. It has tips and techniques; it has videos of chefs; it has recipes; it has a shopping list, meal planner. It also has another very cool new feature. So when I get in here, you know, this is sitting in your kitchen, you’re using your tablet and you’re cooking. Your hands are sometimes kind of messy. And so we’ve learned by doing and watching people do this that it would be really nice to add something that we call hands-free mode.
So I’m going to press the hands-free mode. It’s going to turn on the camera. And then I’m going to be able to use the camera itself to go ahead and advance through the recipes. So I’m going to sit here and go, without touching the screen, no messy hands. (Applause.) Pretty cool. So you’ll find all kinds of new things.
So this screen is big, but it’s really not the biggest screen that I have in my house. The biggest screen in my house would be my television. And Windows 8.1 makes it really easy for you to stream content from one device to another.
So I’m going to open up the Xbox video, and I have Star Trek playing here. And I’m going to play it to my Xbox One. Swipe out to devices, play, Xbox One. (Video plays.) I never get to finish watching that movie; I only get to see that much.
OK, so you guys out in the audience, you build applications. Steve was talking about the importance and the power of the desktop. So I’m going to show you some things about working on the desktop.
Here we are booted straight into the desktop, which is an option for you in Windows 8.1. We love the desktop, we’re proud of the desktop, and we’ve been making refinements to the desktop to bring the modern world and the desktop world together.
So as I go down to the new Start button down here on the bottom left-hand corner and click it, it brings up the Start screen. I’ll do that for you again. And see how the tiles float right over the background for your desktop. So it’s very seamless and smooth, not at all jarring.
And then from here you can get into your all programs, and you can choose to default to this view. You can default to your desktop applications or all apps and get right here and continue working in a very quick and efficient way. You can see four times more apps on the screen at a time than you ever could with a Start menu, making it really easy to find what you want to go do and go do it.
Another part of being on the desktop is about windowing and multitasking, and we’ve added improvements in 8.1 for that as well.
So I’m going to go ahead and launch Outlook. And I have an email message here with a link in it. I’ll click that link. And we’re going to automatically go ahead and snap those two side by side. I’ve been using this, and it’s a really incredible way to work, especially on large-screen monitors.
So here I am. And you’re no longer constrained by the one-third/two-third split. It can be any size you want. (Applause.) Great.
And it doesn’t stop there. I can also right-click on a link and open in a new window and have more than two things on the screen at a time. (Cheers, applause.) So I can compose my email and view an email at the same time.
So if you’re a developer, you’re probably also using multimon, right? And so we’ve made a ton of improvements there as well. Check this out.
So I have eight windows on two monitors, one PC — powering two monitors; it’s OK to clap. (Applause.) So you can set it up exactly how you want. You can resize those windows, you can move them from one to the other, and they’re blended together in a way that makes it really, really productive for you to go and work.
Speaking of productive, there’s one set of applications that are really synonymous with productivity and have been on the PC forever, and that’s Office. And so I have a preview of an alpha version of PowerPoint that I’m showing for the very first time to show you the power of the Win RT platform and how our applications are moving forward into the modern world.
So I’m going to launch PowerPoint. This is a Win RT version of PowerPoint. I’m going to go ahead and dock it at the top. And right now, what we have working is a viewer. So I’m going to browse the SkyDrive, the default place to go and get files from, open this presentation, and you’re going to see right away the transitions, high-quality graphics, video. PowerPoint is a pretty resource-intensive application. So this really shows the power of what you could do in Windows RT.
And then there are also the benefits of being a modern application for PowerPoint. It can show up in the store; it gets automatic updates to your apps automatically and that’s new in Windows 8.1. You can take advantage of the system and participate in notifications and contracts, and of course, you get touch. And all of this works on both ARM and x86 from the smallest, tiniest tablet to the largest, most powerful work station. So it’s all there ready for you to get going and building great new apps. So 8.1 is Windows 8 refined.
And I’m going to ask Antoine Leblond to come out now and get us started on showing you how to do it. Thank you very much. (Applause, music.)
ANTOINE LEBLOND: All right. That was a great look at the new features and experiences in 8.1
What I want to do now actually is I want us to look below the covers at the great developer improvements we’ve made in 8.1 that power those experiences.
So whether you’re a hardware developer or a software developer, we’ve got some great improvements and amazing advancements for you in 8.1. These will help you create beautiful, powerful, responsive, and delightful touch-friendly apps that are really efficient with system resources and have great performance.
Your existing apps will run better on 8.1. So having people upgrade is a real benefit to you. And that’s why we made the upgrade free.
And then when you migrate your app to 8.1 and update it in the store, it’ll run even better than before for your customers.
And in 8.1, there are actually literally over 5,000 new APIs for you to take advantage of and unleash your creativity with. Windows 8.1 has a lot of surface area, and BUILD is devoted to sharing that with you. The Windows team has put together over 100 sessions for you to see at the conference or on demand later.
So what I’m going to try and do here is I’m going to try and actually give you a bit of a sampling of some of the great things that you’re going to get to learn about over the next couple of days.
Let’s jump right in. Now, the best place to start talking about developer investment is obviously with tools. So we’re going to start with a preview of the next version of the world’s best development tools, and that’s Visual Studio.
So Visual Studio 2013 makes it incredibly easy to develop next-generation mobile and connected apps and support devices and services across our entire platform.
Just like the Windows team, the Visual Studio team has been operating at a faster release cadence, and that means that the developer preview of 2013 is available today for you to download. So you have to go check that out.
There’s a lot in this version of Visual Studio, and I’m going to show you just a few of my favorite new things here.
Now, this is going to be a test of how many developers we really have in the room. I’m going to start by talking about performance a little bit. Knowing how your app performs is obviously a really important part of delivering a great experience to your customers. With mobile devices, it’s actually more important than ever. So it’s not only about how fast your app is, but if you think of things like mobile broadband, for example, you really want to know how network efficient your app is. Or you want to know, for example, how your app will affect the battery life of the device that it’s working on.
So, in Visual Studio 2013, we’ve built some powerful performance analysis tools directly into the tool.
So we’re going to start here. This app is called Supernova. All it does is actually downloads a bunch of photos of known supernovas from the Web and then displays them in a nice grid.
And what I’m going to do is I’m going to do a little performance analysis on this app.
So I’m going to go to the debug menu, and I’m going to pick performance and diagnostics. And here it lets me pick what kind of report I want to do. And I’m going to pick one that’s really cool, my energy consumption report. I’m going to do that and I’m going to hit start.
So now what it’s going to do is it starts up my app. And in the background, it’s actually profiling its energy consumption.
So we’ll go back to Visual Studio now. I’ll hit stop collection. It’s going to build the report for me.
Now, have a look at how cool this is. What this chart is showing me, it’s actually showing me the power consumption of my app in milliwatts. How would you have done this before? The red bar is actually the total consumption. You can see in yellow is the consumption from the CPU. Gray is the consumption from the display. You get a really, really good sense of how your app is actually using power on the device.
This doughnut chart at the bottom here just sort of shows me the relative consumption from those different parts of the device. And it even tells me here down at the bottom that this app would run on my device for 9.17 hours before the battery runs out. So really, really cool diagnostics and information for me to make my app even better for mobile devices. (Applause.) Good, it gets better, it gets better.
I want to talk about async debugging for a second. Now, this is the test of developers. Another feature we added to Visual Studio 2013 are some great tools around async debugging. So in Windows 8, we did a lot of work to let you write procedural async code, right? So you don’t have the spaghetti code with callbacks all over the place. Really neat stuff, but it’s a little bit tricky to debug.
But I want to have a look at a different app. So I’m going to switch over to this different app here. And this is basically an async version or it’s a different version of my Supernova app. And what it does is — I’m just going to run it here. So what it’s doing here, it’s actually showing me some low-res photos of these supernovas. But when I bring up the app bar, there’s a button down here at the bottom that says “full image.” And what that’s going to do when I tap it is it makes an async call to actually go get the high-res images for these supernovas.
Now, I have a breakpoint set here. So I’m going to go tap on this. And I’ve hit the breakpoint. Now, developers in the room, you know what’s going to happen here. If I try to step over this, what’s going to happen is first that async operation gets triggered and starts, control returns to UI processing, so my app stays responsive, and I can keep processing UI events. And only when that async routine is done does control come back to the next statement in here.
Now, today if you do this, what’s going to happen is when you get back there and you look at the call stack, there’s one function on it and that’s it. We’ve completely lost the async call context. So it makes it kind of tricky to actually debug around these async calls.
Let’s try this in Visual Studio 2013, though. I’m going to step over this. Now, look at the call stack down at the bottom. It’s actually preserved the entire async call context for me. (Applause.)
So that retains my ability to actually effectively trace through my code, and it just makes it much, much easier to debug async code.
Now, I mentioned connected apps earlier. Visual Studio 2013 makes it trivial to connect an Azure mobile service to your app and send a push notification. I want to have a look at that now.
We’re going to go back to my first app. And what I want to do is — let’s close this report here. What I’d like to do is actually set up a live tile for this app and have an Azure service that basically monitors the data source, and when a new supernova shows up, it sends the notification down, and the live tile actually shows a photo and a message about a new supernova showing up.
Now, the way I do this is I’m going to go into the Solution Explorer here, and I’m going to right click, and I’m going to go to “add,” and I will select push notification.
Now, this starts up a wizard. I’m not going to walk through the whole wizard. It has about eight to 10 steps, but I’m just answering a bunch of questions in here.
And what this wizard will do is it actually provisions an Azure mobile service for me, pushes all this template code over to it and connects everything together so that I can actually get these push notifications.
What’s even cooler, and I did this earlier so it’s set up this way, what’s even cooler is I can use this new Server Explorer here to actually go look at the server-side code without ever leaving my client project, which is really neat.
Let’s look at insert.js. So this is the piece of code right here that will actually send the notification. I’ve chosen a tile template that basically cycles between an image and two lines of text. And you can see here that’s all it’s setting up. It’s setting up a source for the image and then the lines of text.
We’ll run this. And we’ll give it a second. Now, it’s fired up the service over on the Azure Mobile Service. And the app is running. And if we switch over to the Start menu, we should see our tile. There’s our tile right there. And if you give it something like five to eight seconds here, you’ll see it cycle between the image and between the text. Just like that. That was super easy, just did it through a wizard. How cool is that? (Applause.)
Because the Web platform powers both IE and the WebView control, it means you have access now to WebGL and MPEG-DASH content, both in the browser and in your native apps. So let’s have a look at that.
I’m going to start in IE here. And what you’re seeing here is a page with WebGL content in it. So this is a beautifully rendered 3-D object. You can see the lighting and the shadows and all that stuff. And using touch pointer events I can actually interact with it.
And it’s super nice. It’s really smooth because it’s hardware accelerated and all the rendering on the Web platform is actually hardware accelerated. So that’s really neat.
Now, let’s do something different here. I’m going to come over here and I have an app that’s running. And we’re going to dock it right next to it.
Now, this on the left is a native app, right? It’s got the same code, the same markup, the same experience in it. And it’s running in WebGL, too. So this shows you how easy it is to take code that I’ve written for a website and bring it over to a native app almost seamlessly and make it work in the native app.
Now, the cool thing about this, because it’s a native app and it’s running in the WebView controller, I can put multiple WebView controls on my canvas.
So let’s get rid of this window. Let’s tap next here. Now, here’s a place where I actually have four WebView controls up in my native app. The two at the top are both WebGL controls. The one on the top left is the one we just saw, this one is a panorama. I can, of course, interact with these. I can actually interact with both of them at the same time. And then at the bottom, what you’re seeing are two 1080p streaming videos that are streaming over MPEG-DASH.
The one on the right, actually, is DRM protected; the one on the left isn’t. But all this stuff is playing at the same time, hardware accelerated, super seamlessly. It’s really, really cool stuff.
And we’ve even done more with the WebView control. So one of the things that many of you have been asking for is to actually be able to compose the WebView controls with other components of the UI.
So we’ve done that. If you see here, when I bring in the app bar, see how it just swipes over? It’s transparent. The content is still playing in the back. It’s super, super cool and lets you create absolutely beautiful apps.
We’ve done more than that even with the WebView control. We’ve added navigation events, we’ve added smart screens so that you stay safe with the content that you bring into those controls. The controls handle offline content. All this makes it easier than ever to build high-performance apps, apps that blend both local and Web content. (Applause.)
OK, now I want to talk about the Windows Store. So the store, of course, continues to offer the best economics of any store out there, period. And we’ve also redesigned it so people can more easily find and buy your apps.
We’ve added support for cash stored value in over 40 markets. We’ve added in-app purchasing for items and consumables. We’ve added app gifting. And we’ve also added significantly better merchandising and promotion powered by Bing. Our goal is to make sure that people know about all the great apps that you write, and then make it easy and flexible for them to buy them.
I want to show you a few highlights. So the first thing, I’m back here at the Start screen, and you can see the store tile up here. And the first thing you’re going to notice is that there’s something missing. There’s not a little update count up in the top-right corner. We are done with those. You will never see those update counts again. We’re done with manual app updating in Windows 8.1. Now apps get updated automatically so that your customers are always running the latest version of your app. (Applause.)
Let’s tap on the tile and go into the store. And you can see here that we’ve actually significantly redesigned how this works.
The first section you see here on the right is a rotating spotlight. So this is a program section where we get to show some great apps.
And then as I pan over to the right, what you’re seeing here are lists. So we know that people love lists as a way to go discover apps. What we’ve done is we’ve brought these lists to the front and exploded them on the front page of the store. So you get to see a lot more apps than you used to, and it makes it much easier to find things and much easier for customers to find your apps.
I want to point out one list in particular here, which is the first one. It’s the picks-for-you list. So this is kind of cool. This is actually a personalized list for you. So it’s built, actually, by the Bing recommendation engine based around signals like apps that you’ve acquired before and ratings, and similar apps that other people have acquired. So it’s a great, great way to actually discover new apps. And of course as a developer it’s a great way to have your apps merchandised to potential customers, so really cool stuff.
Let’s go over here, and I’m going to tap into one of these so we can have a look at the new app description page. So this has been changed a lot also. You see there’s a lot more surface area to show some really high-fidelity screen shots from my app.
As I go across here, you can see some rich ratings and review information. And probably the most important section to talk about here or most interesting section to talk about are related apps and then apps by Microsoft Studios, which in this case is us. So this is a place where you get to cross-merchandise your apps if you have a number of apps in the store. So, again, a great way to have people discover the apps that you’re building and actually sell more and make more money in the store. So great, great, great stuff.
Finally, navigation in the store is much easier. (Scattered applause.) No, you can go ahead. (Cheers, applause.)
Navigation is much easier from anywhere in the store. I can just drop down the app bar, tap on any section, and go right where I want to be. So, again, you can see the list exploded here at the store. All this is designed to make it easier to sell your app and to make more money. (Applause.)
So now what I want to do is I want to talk about the desktop for a minute. So we love the millions of desktop apps that are out there, and we’re absolutely committed to continuing to support them. In fact, we’ve done work in 8.1 to make them work even better on modern PCs.
I’m going to show you an example of that with multimon support. What I have here is a Surface Pro, and it’s connected into this external monitor. Now, the Surface Pro has a really high DPI screen, whereas this 25-inch monitor running at 1080 resolution is actually relatively low DPI.
Now, in the past, Windows has always used one scaling factor for all your monitors regardless of their DPI. It basically picks the scaling factor of the primary monitor, and then that’s what it uses for all your monitors.
And 8.1 now allows each monitor to have its own scaling factor. So you actually get the most use out of the space available to you on your external monitor. (Applause, cheers.)
So watch what happens here. I’m going to start dragging Visual Studio over. And you can see as it peeks into here, it’s scaled really, really highly because it’s got the scaling factor from my primary monitor here on the Surface.
But as I keep going, watch what happens. See how it just scales down? And now look at all the usage I get of the space on this giant monitor. How cool is that? If I’m a Lightroom user, for example, I can just do the same thing here. I bring it over, boom, look at all that space I have.
I’m showing you Lightroom because I just want to show you that these apps didn’t have to be modified at all for this to happen. Windows just takes care of doing the work for you. And these are just nice touches that allow your existing desktop app investments to just keep being great with modern hardware.
Now I want to talk about graphics and games. This is where this gets really fun. We continue to innovate in DirectX to make Windows the best gaming platform out there for both casual and AAA games. And I want to show you something that we’ve been working on with NVIDIA, AMD, and Intel. It’s something called “tiled resources.” Now, the best way to explain this is actually with a demo.
So what you’re seeing right now is a model of the planet Mars. Now, this is actually pretty cool. It uses about 3 gigs of data. And this is actually a fairly accurate model. What this does, the data actually comes from the Mars Global Surveyor mission, the satellite that orbited Mars for a couple years and used a laser altimeter to build up a really, really detailed model of the topography of the planet. And that’s the data we’re using here.
Now, the cool thing, if you wanted to build this app, this is just a model of the planet, and I want to be able to zoom in and look around at it, what you would do is you would load all of this data into your graphics card and let the graphics card actually do the hard work of rendering the images. But the problem is it’s 3 gigs of data, and I don’t have that much memory on my graphics card.
So what happens typically is what you would do is you’d sort of down-sample the details so that you can use the memory on the graphics card. And what happens is as I zoom in you’ll see that actually as I get closer you’ll see that it gets a little bit fuzzy. Let’s keep going in here just so you can see it. See as I get closer, it’s kind of fuzzy. There we go.
So now this is where tiled resources help. So tiled resources give you a programmable hardware page table for graphics memory. So what this is going to do is it’s basically dynamically swapping the parts of the data I need into my graphics card to render the scene that I’m actually looking at. So let’s flip that on, and you can see the difference here. Look at that. Now, look at the difference in detail here. And here the cool thing is, we made this demo, and we restricted it to only using 16 megs of memory on that graphics card.
Now, that’s pretty cool, but obviously the motivation for doing something like this is actually to let you make games with really unprecedented amounts of detail. So let’s have a look at another demo here.
What you’re going to see here, so this is a demo that’s built by a company called Graphine. They’re out of Belgium; they’re a games middleware company. And this is running on an NVIDIA GPX 770 card. So this is a good graphics card. It’s one you can go buy today at the store, and it’s easily available. And here, tiled resources are being used to render these two gliders. There’s another one here that’s flying around this one, flying over this absolutely beautiful detailed coastline. It’s way more complex. This one uses about 9 gigs of data, and you can see just how amazing this is.
But watch what happens when I zoom in here. You’re going to get a good sense of the level of detail. Push the button here, and zoom in. And if you look carefully, you can see individual rivets on this thing. You can see smudge marks on the skin. It’s unbelievable the amount of detail that I have here.
And so the best thing about this is this actually will run on tens of millions of DX 11 cards that are out there today. And, of course, that number grows every day. You cannot dream of doing this on iOS or on Android; in fact this is actually only possible on a Windows 8.1 machine or on a next-generation gaming console like the Xbox One. (Applause.)
OK. Now I want to talk about something different. I want to talk about devices a little bit. So, in Windows 8.1, we’ve really invested in giving you great new ways to write apps that interact with this exciting range of devices and peripherals that’s exploding around us right now. One great example of that is 3-D printing. Now 3-D printing is super-hot right now, and Windows 8.1 is the first and only platform to support it natively. And what that means is that we did the work to create the APIs, the formats, and the driver model that makes printing in 3-D just as seamless as printing in 2-D is.
So, with 8.1, you can create an app like this little demo one that I have here that lets you manipulate and create 3-D objects. And then when I’m happy with what I have, printing it is just as seamless and easy as printing to a laser printer. I can just go here to devices, select print. I’m going to select my 3-D printer here. I’m going to hit print. And now, what it’s doing, is it’s sending the data for this face over to the printer. It’s going to take about 20 seconds, because it’s actually fairly rich data. And you’ll see the printer start up here in a few seconds.
Now the printer, this is actually a MakerBot Replicator 2. This thing prints in thicknesses of about 100 microns. So it actually takes quite a while to print something like this face. We’ve got this time-lapse video up here showing me what’s going on. But this stuff is super, super cool.
Here’s the finished result. If you’ve never seen one of these, these are actually really fun to play with. I’m going to toss one down there so folks can play with it. Good catch. And these are really becoming broadly available. This one will be in Microsoft Stores soon. And this other one over here on this side, you can see it go here. There’s this other one over here on this side, it’s made by a company called 3D Systems. It’s called the Cube Printer. And this will be available in Staples soon for under $1,300. It’s really, really broadly available, and these things are particularly fun to play with. (Applause.)
Now, in Windows 8.1, we’ve also added APIs in WinRT that let you interact directly with devices that use their own protocols over either USB or Wi-Fi Direct, or Bluetooth or HIP. I wanted a really cool demo to show you. We’re actually able, we were lucky enough to be able to work with the Lego Education Team to build something using new unreleased Lego MINDSTORMS PV3 platform. Take a look at this little beauty. We’re going to have fun with this.
So those of you who have kids know how popular these are in schools, and if you have kids who have one, I know you’re playing with these also. This is the next generation of that MINDSTORMS platform, and it will allow kids around the world to learn programming skills for the 21st century. So we built this robot. And what we did is, we’ve created a Windows Store app to actually control it. So we’ve got a Surface tablet on this thing; it connects to the robot controller using USB. So it’s pretty cool. It can send it signals and make it do things.
But we actually wanted it to do a little bit more, so what I have here is I actually have a second tablet. And so what I’m going to do is I’m going to use this as a remote control for that. So what it’s doing is it’s actually communicating; this tablet is communicating with that tablet over Wi-Fi, that’s then communicating over USB to the robot controller. And we’re going to see if we can make this thing move. All right. There it goes. How cool is that? (Applause.)
Wait. We actually wanted to do more. So what we’ve done here now is that we’re actually using I’m going to use the real-time streaming APIs that are new in Windows 8.1, and we’re going to have this thing send a live video feed to that guy. Now this is going to be a video feed of me, so who knows what this will look like. But here we go. Here’s me, and you can see it on the front. It’s getting sent over Wi-Fi directly to that tablet. And I’m just going to go sit in the back now and let this thing finish the keynote for you.
How awesome is that? We could keep going and going and going with this thing, actually. We actually did a lot of work on it. It actually has a sentry mode that uses the Lego Distance Sensor and face recognition software. It actually detects when someone comes within range and gives you a notification. There’s all sorts, it knows how to send tweets. There’s all sorts of fun things you can do.
You combine a device like this with Windows 8.1, and you’re really only limited by your imagination. You can just imagine what kids are going to be able to do with something like this.
Before I wrap up, I would like to spend a couple of minutes just showing you some of the exciting new PCs and tablets. Now, Windows 8 has really spurred some incredible innovation in our PC ecosystem. In just a year, we’ve started to see an explosion of new and unique form factors, design concepts like detachable tablets, like all-in-ones, like portable all-in-ones, like high DPI displays. We’ve got this massive selection now of touchscreen devices in every price point. You can be sure that there’s a PC out there that’s exactly right for you.
And I want us just to have a look at a few specific ones here. The first one I want to show you is, this is the Samsung Ativ Book 9 Plus. So this thing has a mindboggling 3200-by-1800 13-inch screen, so this is the highest resolution 13-inch laptop in the world. It blows away a MacBook Retina. And it has a touchscreen. (Applause.)
This one actually is really cool. It’s actually also running a fourth-generation Haswell Intel 4 i7 processor. It has 8 gigs of RAM and 256 gig SSD. Samsung says this gets 12 hours on a single charge. How amazing is that? And look at how thin this thing is. (Applause.) Absolutely beautiful device.
Now one of the things I really love is the innovation from OEMs in convertible designs. And I want to show you this one. This is one that Steve was talking about earlier. This is actually the Lenovo Think Pad Helix. So this is a tablet and an ultrabook all-in-one device. And, first of all, it’s a great tablet for work. It has TPM in it. It has BIOS encryption. It has USB 3.0. It has MSC. It’s a great, really powerful machine.
But thanks to this cleverly designed detachable keyboard, once I pop it in here, it’s then just a nice, thin, ultralight ultrabook as well. So it’s just a wonderful, wonderful design. This is a great for you who love Lenovo keyboards, this is just an amazing machine.
Now let’s keep going. The next one I want to show you is this one. This is the Acer Aspire P3. So this is just a beautiful, powerful tablet, and a really compact design. It’s only about .4 inches thick, weight 1.74 pounds, and it has an Intel Core i5 processor on it. So this thing really, really smokes. It’s fast. You can do a lot of work on this thing. And it also has the unique detachable wireless keyboard that doubles as a protective cover for it.
The next thing I want to show you over here is actually another Acer device. Now this one, this is the Acer Aspire V5. Now this is a full featured laptop. It has a 10-point multi-touch screen. You can see. And it has a pretty powerful AMD dual core A4 processor in it. But the thing that I love about this is it’s under $400. It’s great to see high-quality touch coming to all price points in the PC ecosystem. (Applause.)
The next one I want to show you is actually a Windows RT device. This is the Dell XPS 10. It has a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor in it. It has 4G LTE connectivity. Dell claims an incredible 18-1/2 hours of battery life when it’s docked to its detachable keyboard. And the best part of this one, too, is it’s under $400 as well. And it’s an amazingly thin and light and portable device. I love this thing.
The last one I want to show you is this interesting one. So this is such a great example of innovation in all-in-ones. This is called the Dell XPS 18, and it really brings the best of PCs and tablets together. It weighs less than five pounds. And when I undock it, it has up to seven hours of battery life. So I can carry it around and play games and watch movies and all these things. So it’s just a great, super-innovative device. (Applause.)
So what we have onstage there today is just a really small subset of over 3,000 certified Windows 8 PCs to choose from. It’s really cool stuff.
And I think here comes Julie, so I think Julie has one more that she wants to show us.
JULIE LARSON-GREEN: Yes, I have one more here. This is my Surface Pro, and I really love this device. It does everything. It’s a tablet. It’s a full PC. It’s powerful.
ANTOINE LEBLOND: Yes. I mean with Windows 8.1 and Visual Studio 2013 on it, you really have a great tablet for developers, for building mobile and connected apps. I love my Surface Pro.
JULIE LARSON-GREEN: I love mine, too, and these are all developers in the audience. Do you think they would like one? (Cheers, applause.) So great news, we have one for each of you, and we’d really like to thank Intel for co-sponsoring the Surface Pro for you. (Cheers, applause.)
ANTOINE LEBLOND: All right. So that was my overview of Windows 8.1 for you. We’ve doubled down on fundamentals, filled gaps; we’ve addressed feedback; we’ve expanded the platform in really exciting ways. And now it’s time for you to start exploring all the details. You can go to Preview.Windows.com for all the info you need and to actually download the Windows 8.1 Preview release. And whether you’re working with the Windows Store on desktops, on the Web, every one of your apps is going to benefit from Windows 8.1. If you create PCs or tablets or other devices, Windows 8.1 opens many, many new experiences for you to innovate. And we’re really looking forward to seeing what you will do.
Now, here to speak to you about some more developer opportunities around Microsoft Surface is Gurdeep Singh Pall from the Bing team.
GURDEEP SINGH PALL: Good morning, folks.
So Steve, Julie, and Antoine mentioned Bing in their talks. So I’m here to talk to you a bit more about Bing. Now Bing, as all of you know, is a beautiful, powerful search engine. Bing is on a roll. Let me tell you about momentum for Bing: 17.4 percent share in the U.S., gaining month over month, Facebook Bings, Yahoo Bings, and Apple Siri Bings. Folks, all these people know something. They’re smart people; they know something. They know that Bing is an incredible product. It’s an incredible product that is built by incredible engineers.
Now, these engineers have not only built a great search engine, they’ve also built some amazing capabilities, an Internet scale infrastructure, machine-learning plant, ability to understand user intent, understand, sort of make sense of, a lot of unstructured content on the Web. Now it turns out that all these things can be actually quite valuable even beyond the search box. For a long time, we’ve had this vision that you can take these capabilities and enable a whole bunch of new experiences; and that was the journey that we started down on a couple of years ago.
Now you can see, of course, search is a huge, huge piece of what Bing is about. But, we started to extract some of the capabilities out. So for example, the Web index and relevance is a huge capability, with lots of potential. Entities and knowledge, the ability to extract, conflate, and to organize entities into an ontology so that you can now start reasoning over information, as opposed to just looking at it as pieces of text. NUI capabilities, natural user interfaces are all about understanding user intent. Now, it turns out that the great work that was done in Bing can be divided into a lot of interesting natural user interface technologies.
And then there is about the real world. The Web has become sort of a proxy for the real world that we live in, and we sort of go back and forth between those. It turns out in Bing we had to tackle that problem. So is there a way that we could take all these capabilities out and then start enabling some first-party experiences? Now Antoine talked about some, and Julie talked about some great features in Windows 8.1, the Search charm, the ability to use Bing to really make apps discoverable in the marketplace. Some examples, we’ve had the translator app, which is this brilliant, new, interesting application on Windows 8. So that’s one example.
When you look at Office, Office 2013 has some award-winning Bing Apps for Office, which allow you to think about Office not just as a set of tools, but also to connect it into the Web and information that naturally belongs inside those applications. We’ve seen the GeoFlow application in Office 2013, which lets you render a lot of content on top of this beautiful real-world canvas. In Xbox 360, some great NUI work was done by Bing. You saw that, how you access entertainment and information, with Xbox One that goes to a completely new level. And then there’s other things like the Windows Phone 8, which has lots and lots of Bing functionality, which is built in.
Now folks, I learned a lesson in the ’90s when I was a developer on the Windows operating system. And that is that if we can do something with an API that is good, third parties can do something with it, which is dynamite. So today, what I’m here to announce with you is the availability of Bing as a platform for you, the developers. (Cheers, applause.)
So let me tell you what all you can do with this. With entities and knowledge, now firstly, with Web index and relevance, we already have a bunch of Bing APIs that are used by tens of thousands of developers today, mostly using the search pattern. Now let’s talk about entities and knowledge. Now think of it as being the brain, the knowledge of the Web, the unbounded knowledge of the Web, is now available to your applications. Let’s talk about natural user interfaces, the ears and the mouth and the eyes. These capabilities, which have never been available for developers in a large-scale way, we are providing through the new Bing platform. And then for the real world, we want to bring a whole lot of new mapping and visualization capabilities, and also capabilities with which you can connect the real world with the virtual world, through a set of APIs and controls.
Now I can talk a lot about APIs, but I thought it might be interesting to show you what you can do with these APIs. Now what we did here is that we put ourselves in your shoes and built an interesting application. This is not a shipping application by any stretch, but it’s an application to exemplify the use of these controls. So this application tackles the very simple task, which is trip-planning task for users. So let me come over here, and I’ll start by, I’ll go to my Windows Phone here, and I have sort of a Trip Companion app, which runs on the phone. So let me go ahead and do something with it. Trip Companion, add Spain to my vacation ideas.
VOICE: Added Spain to your vacation ideas.
GURDEEP SINGH PALL: OK. So you can see that this application on the phone added Spain to my vacation ideas. Now I did that when I was standing by the water cooler with the phone in my hand, and my friend was telling me about the great trips that they had to Spain. Now later on, I’m thinking about my long summer. I’m thinking maybe I need to go pick a trip for my family. So I come back to my desk, and I’ve got my Surface sitting there, and I see the Road Trip Companion app is right here. So let me open that up. Now you’ll notice that Spain, it shows a star, which means that this idea just got added to my apps. So you can see how the Bing platform will work across the family of devices for the user.
So let me click on Spain, and here the developer has created an application experience with Spain in there. They’ve used one of our controls. That’s nice. Let me just browse through and now my friend, who was at the water cooler, was telling me about Valencia. So let me click on Valencia, beautiful pictures of Valencia that you put inside your app. I can browse through them. And this is what I call pretty much what an experience is today.
Now let’s see what we can do when we sprinkle this with the magic of some of our new controls. So you integrated one of our controls, and you have this what looks like a street side view. OK. Let’s see if you can make this more interesting. Let’s create a bit of a virtual tour here.
VOICE: This is the city of arts and sciences in Valencia. It is one of the largest cultural centers of Europe. You could easily spend more than a day here. You must see the Oceanographic, the Prince Philip Museum, and the Queen Sophia Arts Palace here. There are quite a few good hotels nearby. You can check out the views that you get from them to see if you should believe their marketing.
GURDEEP SINGH PALL: OK, great. So that was a little gritty thing, I thought developers would like that. So now you said believe, that’s great, you’ve given me a control where you flew a plane over Valencia, and we got to have it. So OK, fine. Let me see if we can do something more interesting with it.
Folks, can you guys keep a secret? I know you’re all developers, so I trust you guys. What we’ve not announced to anybody yet is that Windows 8.1 Maps app will come with 3-D capability, 3-D imagery. OK. Now, we’re going one step further. (Cheers, applause.) We’re going to go one step further, because we’re going to take this 3-D imagery, all the content we are creating, and enable it through a 3-D control that you can embed inside your applications. I guess that’s what I’m showing you here today, OK. So let me play with this a little. (Applause.)
Let’s see, there are some hotels here. Maybe we can go along the hotels, maybe I can go explore a little bit before I go with it. Now, this takes the idea of going and visiting a city to a whole new level. And you can see how beautiful this imagery is. This is built using cameras that we have built ourselves, with some amazing optics. This is very, very high-resolution imagery. You can see all the details, and these details actually become really interesting, when you really think about interacting with the real world.
Here’s the beautiful building here. There’s some basketball courts. So you can see how this beautiful imagery can actually provide a canvas for a whole lot of interesting things. So let’s see what are some interesting things that we can do. Now you know one of the things about the real world, and especially when you look at the real world in this amazing way, is that it really starts begging the questions that I’ve got lots of questions. I’m going to visit Valencia. I’m going to visit some really beautiful architecture, some churches there. And the question that pops to your head is, “Hey, who designed this thing?”
Now, normally a user would have to change from this application, go to a browser, type in Valencia, type in whatever little context they can put in. But, the reality is the user is looking at your app at a particular object. Wouldn’t it be nice if they could just say who is the architect? Folks, what you see here is that we’ve taken a whole lot of steps away from the user. and we’ve allowed you to create an unbounded amount of knowledge right into your applications, because I could have asked a different question, which would have again gone to the Bing platform, and it would have returned with an entity, which best relates to what you’re looking at.
So let’s keep going. So I’ve decided that Valencia is, indeed, a very nice place. So I’m going to visit it. So I’m going to go ahead and add Valencia to my itineraries. Now while I was standing at the water cooler, this friend of mine said that they had some of the best food when they were in Valencia. I said, well, that’s great. And what does he do? He reaches into his wallet, and he gives me a card. Now this is a little analog artifact that he brought from Valencia. Now if I go put this into my if I go ahead and put this into my wallet, I’ll probably lose it a week later. And I definitely will not find it when I’m in Valencia. So let’s see if we can do something better.
Let me use some of the functionality in the Bing platform and scan this card, which I can then use later. So I go to scan it. So using the OCR capability that is available through the Bing controls, you can now scan the information, which is wonderful except that I don’t speak Spanish. So let me see if I can do something a little bit more interesting. Great. So now using the OCR capabilities of the Bing platform, and the translator capability, I’ve combined those two things, and now let me go ahead and save this later, so that when I’m in Valencia I won’t forget it. Add this idea for dinner to my itinerary. Great, so now this information, which existed in an analog artifact, is now saved with my itinerary, available for me when I’m in Valencia.
Now, roll forward, and here I am in Valencia now, and I said, hey, I want to go try out some nice places to eat. And I remember that I’d filed some of these things away. So let me bring back my Windows Phone that is with me. And remember I had a Trip Companion app here. So I could say, Trip Companion, find ideas for dinner.
VOICE: Finding ideas for dinner.
GURDEEP SINGH PALL: Great, so now we had extracted that information, translated it, and now connected it to a speech-based search on that information. And now I’ve got it right here, so I can open it up, and you can see that this is exactly what I had scanned into my little artifact.
So folks, what you’ve seen here is a little sample application that we have put together to show you the power of these controls. I really believe that in this coming decade, apps are going to have eyes, they’re going to have ears, they’re going to have a mouth, and that will enable a really, really seamless experience for you as you are trying to create these seamless experiences for your developers.
Now all this is great. I’m very happy to announce this new platform, which is available to you. There’s a new developer portal that you can go really try it on. Next year, I want to be standing here onstage, showing some really interesting apps that you have built, and that’s why we come in to do the work that we do.
Thank you, folks. (Cheers, applause.)
STEVE BALLMER: Well, about an hour and a half ago, I promised you we had lots to show today. And I hope at this stage, you’ve got a sense of the sort of diversity of what we’re doing, and the speed with which we are trying to do it. With Windows 8.1 particularly, I think we state clearly a new rapid release cadence. I hope you agree, you saw some beautiful, beautiful new phones, some unbelievable transformation in Windows devices, from the PCs we knew and loved, to these new two-in-ones, touch notebooks and very, very small tablets, all very interesting and very capable, in terms of what they permit, in terms of application-level innovation, certainly new applications coming to market, and all of the tools and technologies that both Antoine and Gurdeep had a chance to talk about that will really allow you to do phenomenal new applications, both in the modern style, as well as enhancements in new applications in the desktop style.
We really have paid some attention to this notion of the desktop and modern applications and how people mix and match and use their environments and have made some pretty transformative changes.
And last, but not least, I think building Bing into Windows, and into Windows Phone, then into Xboxes allows not only us but all developers to be able to very rapidly do some of the exciting new kinds of applications that Gurdeep gave you a sense of in his last talk.
So a lot of new things, a lot of new ground, a lot of innovation, and a lot of excitement, all available in the Windows family of devices, from phones to tablets to notebooks to two-in-ones to desktop, I think all very, very exciting.
Tomorrow, we’ll get a chance to talk about a different set of subjects, but also moving at a very rapid rate with a very rapid release cadence. We’ll anchor tomorrow’s discussion in what’s going on in the cloud backend with Windows Azure. We’ll talk to you about new capabilities in Azure that really make it a cloud on which businesses and enterprise can really operate. We’ll talk about the popularity of Office 365, which is a SaaS application, has taken off like a rocket ship. And things that we’re doing to make it extensible by you with customizations, new applications, integration into Active Directory and the security model. We’ll show how that extends beyond Office 365 and Azure to any SaaS application that you want to create, the ability to integrate securely data and identity with on premise and SaaS applications.
And, of course, tomorrow again we’ll talk about tools, tools, tools, because at the end of the day, particularly as the infrastructures that are available to you get more sophisticated, the importance of giving you tools that let you rapidly and simply build this modern style of application, front-end and cloud infrastructure, is increasingly important.
So enthused about the range of things that we get to talk to you about at Build, but before I wrap up, I wanted to show you just one more demonstration, one more demonstration. We’re going to show you an application that’s also a development environment that uses kind of everything we’ve talked about today to some measure. It uses the graphics capabilities. It uses phones and tablets. It runs on Azure, on the backend. And this is a game we first talked about at the E3 Conference just a few weeks ago. We call it Project Spark, and I think it will, again, spark your imagination in terms of some of the things that you can do in this modern environment.
So this is a game that’s also a development environment for building games, but let’s welcome on stage Rusty McLellan and Dave McCarthy from our Interactive Entertainment Group. They’re going to whet your whistle for one final time this morning.
DAVE MCCARTHY: Hi, everyone. Rusty and I are excited to be here today to give you a small glimpse at what Project Spark can do across devices on a variety of inputs. Rusty is going to start off by creating a beautiful world on a Windows 8 desktop with touch controls. In less than five minutes, we’ll build a game from scratch via Smart Glass on the recently announced Xbox One.
Project Spark is an open-world digital canvas. It enables anyone to build, play and share whatever they can imagine. It’s a powerful yet simple way to create your own worlds, stories, and games.
Project Spark will be available on Xbox One, Xbox 360, and Windows 8, and through the power of the cloud, it lets you seamlessly carry over your progress and content from one platform to another. It’s an ongoing service with frequent updates and content additions across all of our platforms. Play the way you want on whichever platform you want.
Now, Rusty is just putting the finishing touches here on our game setting. We’ve chosen desert oasis. He’s using our paintbrush to put in some finite detail, a little greenery around the pond there. Let’s put a couple more finishing touches on this, Rusty. We’ll play with the time of day. And let’s do the position of the sun. That’s cool. And then we’ll finish off with placing an enemy for our gameplay scenario. Your choice. He chose the goblin, nice. Place him in there. Excellent.
All right. So Rusty is going to save what he just made for the cloud, and we’ll pick up over here in our living room without losing a beat. Imagine the possibilities that are unlocked by creating away from your console, and then playing your masterpiece over on the big screen. Seamlessly creating back and forth, devices at your ready, just waiting for your next inspiration. This is digital age nirvana.
All right, Rusty, so we’re loading this up on the Xbox One. We want to see our desert oasis, and our little gameplay moment with the goblin here. Rusty is on controller right now. There we are. It looks good.
Now, being across all devices opens up new methods of input and allows us to innovate with games of all types. Even though we’re now playing on an Xbox One, we can use Smart Glass and remote rendering on any Windows 8 device to keep creating with amazing touch controls.
So Rusty, let’s change this controller based action mechanic into something maybe a little less predictable for console gaming.
In Project Spark, we can add behaviors to anything in the world or alter brains that exist on things. I’m going to play around with this goblin brain and make a quick touch game for everyone. So Rusty started by deleting the default brain, and we’re going to build one from scratch. The brain is broken up into a when and a do side. The visual language is simple yet very powerful.
We’re going to tell the goblin here to jump on the ground after a specified time to a height of what are we going to pick?
RUSTY MCLELLAN: Meters.
DAVE MCCARTHY: That’s good.
Now Rusty is going to change the camera next to a different view. He’s going to start again by deleting our default brain here, and then we’re going to place a sixth camera, and we’ll see how this comes into play in a second. You have to frame it perfectly, Rusty, this is your chance. The scene looks pretty good. Desert Oasis looks nice. All right. Awesome.
Now it’s time to put our controls in. So we’re going to make this a touch-based instead of a controller-based game. So we’ve got our touch mechanic in. And when Rusty touches an object what we want to do is create a visual effect that we’ll pull out of our library here. Let’s let Rusty put this line in. We’ll go into our library and choose an effect. These include things that are both created by our team over in Xbox and some that can be created by the community as well.
Then we want to put one other child rule in, and that will execute after the effect, which will destroy whatever we touch making this our main mechanic. All right. It looks good.
Finally, we’ll use our clone command to make more goblins here. We just can’t have one goblin jumping around. And with more time, Rusty could set up timers, scores, sounds, and so much more.
Rusty, let’s change a couple of those goblins into something different, give it a little visual variety here. The desert, he’s chosen the yeti, interesting choice. So we’ll put a yeti in there, maybe another one. Looking good. Perfect. And then let’s play with the position a little bit, so we get some height variety. There we go.
Now Rusty should be able to swipe or touch these entities and try and defeat them all. There they are. Now in just a few minutes, he was able to create a touch game he started on Windows 8 and completed over on Xbox One with Smart Glass. With Project Spark and Microsoft Services, the power to create across devices, to delight with multiple inputs, and the freedom to do it anywhere has never been easier for developers and players. We’re taking registration for our beta on Windows 8 at JoinProjectSpark.com. And you can also come by and check us out later in the gaming lounge to see the creativity that Project Spark can unlock.
We’d like to finish by showing you a short sample of some of the cross-platform games people just like you have brought to life using Project Spark. Thank you.
STEVE BALLMER: Simple point in showing you a little bit of Project Spark, because I think it really helps define what the new world of applications looks like, rich clients, interacting and taking advantage of very rich and sophisticated service infrastructure, and able to be customized and developed upon and enhanced, whether it’s client code or cloud code by literally hundreds and thousands of people around the world.
And whether we’re talking about productivity in the office, enjoyment at home, serious kind of hardcore fun, which I guess Project Spark certainly would be for my 14-year-old, we’re trying to facilitate that kind of deep innovation across everything we do.
Rapid release, an incredible family of devices, with incredible services to back them up, and across the Windows family, we’re really trying to bring together, and allow you as developers to bring together, one innovative experience on every device for everything from work to play to serious fun that’s important in somebody’s life.
As developers, we know you have a lot of choices. When it comes time for choosing the things to choose to build the innovation that people are going to really lean in on, when people really need to get something done, when people really want to plan the trip, when people really need to get some work done, when people want to hard core lean in and have some fun, we think we’ve got absolutely the highest volume platform on the planet. We will sell literally hundreds of millions of Windows devices this year. Windows Phones, Windows tablets, Windows PCs, Windows, Windows, Windows. And while certainly some of the form factors that have been most important traditionally in Windows will see an interesting transition, the rise of new Windows form factors, phones, tablets, two-in-ones, all-in-ones, even in the sense of the future of where we take Xbox and the ability to participate in Windows experiences is unparalleled. And the opportunity as an application developer to use Windows on the device, and Windows Azure in the cloud to build next-generation mobile, connected, experiences has absolutely never been better than it is today.
We appreciate you taking the time and joining us. We appreciate all of the energy you put in to studying and to learning and to innovating on our platform. And I want you to leave with but one thought — the future of Windows is very, very bright.
Thank you. (Applause.)